Best of Lists

Florida's West Coast Sweet Spots

Florida
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October 2020
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By
Carol
Bareuther

LIKE NIGHT AND DAY, the glitz and glamor of Florida's East Coast gives way to nature and nurture on the state's laidback Florida West Coast. Here, crowd-free white sand beaches stretch along the Gulf of Mexico; vast preserves are packed with more fish, bird, and wildlife than people; and smaller cities wear their history and charm on their sleeves.

All this makes Florida's Gulf Coast the place to have a ball when you want to get away from it all. Here is a sampling of 10 sweet spots, listed south to north, to navigate to this fall.

Buck Key Preserve, Captiva Island

Otters, bald eagles and stingrays – oh my! These and other sea, bird and marine life are the primary residents of this nearly two-mile-long barrier island adjacent to Captiva. Paddling is the best way to see these critters, plus explore tunnels of mangrove forests and dense hardwood hammocks that native peoples once called home. Kayaking is the most popular, yet paddle boarding is possible, too. You can go it alone; the four-mile-long Buck Key Paddle Trail is marked. Watersports companies also offer guided tours. Either way, plan for at least a two-hour trip.

Where to Dock: Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa

Something spotted at Ding Darling | Florida Sweet Spots | Marinalife
Something Spotted at Ding Darling Wildlife Education Boardwalk

Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Walk on the wild side at this 6,400-plus acre wildlife refuge. Choose from three trails, all off scenic Wildlife Drive. Indigo is a four-mile loop where the Wildlife Education Boardwalk boasts scat and track replicas to easily identify critters that may have crossed paths. The 0.5-milk Wulfert Keys Trail leads to an overlook of San Carlos Bay where fishermen once crabbed. The Calusa Shell Mound Trail, true to name, is a 0.4-mile loop that circles seashell heaps left by ancient inhabitants. While the trails are delightfully off the beaten track, do pack a smartphone. QR iNature Trail Code signs along the way provide even more information about the refuge's sights.

Where to Dock: Sanibel Marina

Cayo Costa State Park, Lee County

Take a step into the past while enjoying the present on this island, located near Pine Island and west of Fort Myers, where you can socially distance on nearly nine miles of white sand beaches. Accessible only by boat, as well as kayaks and paddleboards available for rent, this was a favorite fishing ground of the early Calusa Indians. Archaeological digs here have unearthed shell mounds, bones and pottery. Today, saltwater fisherman can try their luck for tarpon, snook, snapper and pompano. Hiking, beach walking, shelling, swimming, snorkeling and birdwatching mean there's something here for everyone.

Where to Dock: Cayo Costa State Park

Boca Grande, Gasparilla Island

Big tarpon, and lots of them, are what you find at Boca Grande Pass, situated on the southern tip of Gasparilla Island State Park. This deep-water passage connects Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico, and tarpon use this as a major maritime highway before and after spawning. It's no wonder this area is nicknamed the "Tarpon Capital of the World." Famous folks from Thomas Edison to George W. Bush have come here to drop a line. Catches average 90- to 130-pounds with 200-plus pounders not uncommon. Guides for hire can help turn a fishing trip into a catching experience.

Where to Dock: Boca Grande Marina

Sunset in Captiva by Jason Lindsey | Florida | Marinalife
Sunset in Captiva by Jason Lindsey

Venice

Man's best friend can find a place to romp in this seaside city located 20 miles south of Sarasota. Paw Park, a fenced play yard with nearby picnic tables, benches and showers, leads straight to the only beach in the county where dogs can run unleashed. You find lots for two-footed visitors to enjoy, too. Venice is known as the "Shark Tooth Capital" of the World. In fact, Brohard Park Beach, next to the Paw Park and south of Venice Pier, is one of the best places in town to hunt for these treasured teeth. For the best luck, go to where the waves break and scoop up the beach sand with a strainer or by hand. These fossilized fangs range in size from the length of a grain of rice to the diameter of a softball.

Where to Dock: The Crow's Nest Restaurant & Marina

Cortez, Manatee County

Maritime history buffs will want to visit this last of the traditional fishing villages on Florida's Gulf Coast. The Florida Maritime Museum, set in a restored 1912-built schoolhouse in the Cortez Nature Preserve, displays everything from old-time chronometers and barometers to historic boats and ship models, cork lures and hand-woven nets, and even stoneware moonshine jugs from the Prohibition Era. Make your own history. Several outfits here, in Sarasota Bay and Palma Sola Bay, offer half (four-hour), three-quarter (six-hour), and full-day (eight-hour) charter fishing trips. Inshore in the fall, expect to catch redfish and black drum, while offshore kingfish and wahoo are biting. November starts trout season -- including a good run of five-pound plus "gators."

Where to Dock: Cortez Village Marina (Formerly Bradenton Boat Club)

Boca Grande Lighthouse | Florida Sweet Spots | Marinalife
Boca Grande Lighthouse from The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau

Anna Maria Island, Manatee County

The vibe is charming old-style Florida in the small resort city of Anna Maria, located at the tip of this seven-mile-long island 12 miles west of Bradenton. Pine Avenue, in the heart of town, boasts a plethora of quaint shops, galleries and eateries. The Historical Society Museum is here too, as is the 1911-built, nearly 700-foot long City Pier. From here, watch fishermen cast lines, boats cruise in and out of Tampa Bay, pelicans plunge into the water for their dinner, and spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.

Where to Dock: Bradenton Beach Marina

Gulfport

The arts are alive in this quirky artist community located five miles west of St. Petersburg on Boca Ciega Bay. The Gulfport Art Walk takes place on Beach Boulevard, on the first Friday and third Saturday of the month, from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. year-round. There are local authors and artists, watercolorists, and wearable-makers, plus hand-made candles, soaps, floral pieces, and more for sale. The culinary arts are something to savor here too. Every Tuesday, Gulfport Fresh Market is notable for its fresh produce and seafood, baked breads, and local spice mixes. Beyond this, the city has won awards for its smorgasbord selection of restaurants, many of which serve fresh-caught seafood.

Where to Dock: City of Gulfport Municipal Marina

Dunedin

Main Street USA is the charming description of what you find in the center of this historic Gulf Coast city. No big box or name brand stores here. Instead, this walkable thoroughfare is full of shops selling custom jewelry, antiques, furnishings and art of all types. Stop to wet your whistle one block off the west side of Main at The Brewery, Florida's oldest microbrewery. The city's name, coined by early Scottish settlers, comes from the Gaelic term for Edinburgh. Enjoy a taste of the Scots while here. The Dunedin Golf Club offers a challenging 18-hole course. Kids can play on "Nessie," a larger than life-size version of the Loch Ness Monster located in Dunedin's water-filled sprayground north of Main Street. The pier at sunset is breathtaking.

Where to Dock: Marker 1 Marina

Tarpon Springs

The name of this Gulf Coast seaport sounds like fishing is the main game in town. Yet, there's much more. Located less than an hour north of St. Petersburg, this is also the sponge capital of the world. Greek immigrants more than a century ago introduced the collection technique of diving for sponges. The heyday of harvesting these prized multicell animals is long gone, but you can soak up the past via a visit to the Sponge Docks & Sponge Museum. Local shops sell sponges, too. A Greek influence remains from the Mediterranean-style architecture in some parts of town to the spanakopita (spinach pie), avgolemono soup (lemon-flavored chicken soup), and baklava (honey and nut pastry). And yes, there are tarpon aplenty here, too.

Where to Dock: Turtle Cove Marina

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Top 10 New England Sailing Regattas
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What do a media mogul, movie maker and American President have in common? Taking part in yacht racing, one of our nation's oldest sports, and New England, the cradle of this sport in America. Ted Turner won the 1977 America's Cup in Newport. Roy Disney sailed from Newport to Bermuda with record-breaking speed in 2002. And in 1936, JFK earned a winner's cup racing Stars in the Hyannis Port Yacht Club race to Edgartown.With more than 6,000 miles of shoreline, survival built on the sea from olden days of fishing and trading to today's seasonal tourist dollars, it's a natural that racing sailboats is a time-honored tradition and rite of passion for most New Englanders. Many sailors here boast blood as blue as the surrounding seas, yet everyone can find a home to race. Here's a sampling of some of the region's best-known regattas.

MAINE

Camden Classics Cup - new england regattas - marinalife
Camden Classics Cup | Alison Langle

Camden Classics CupJuly 28-30Competition and camaraderie combine in this relative newcomer event sailed in Penobscot Bay and celebrated shoreside in downtown Camden. Over 100 sailboats, everything from vintage yachts to very fast one-designs like J/46s and J/42s, race. Classes are available for day sailors and cruising yachts, too. Dockage at Lyman-Morse is included in the race fee, so the party starts ashore when the racing ends, says organizer Mackenzie Lyman, who adds the marina operator and boat-builders have rebuilt the waterfront after a fire in 2020. Spectators can have just as much fun. Maine's Wind- jammers offer two-hour tours to view the racing, while landlubber's best bet is watching the parade of sail as dressed yachts with costumed crew parade through Camden harbor on the morning of July 30. camdenclassicscup.comBoothbay Harbor Yacht Club Annual Regatta & Shipyard Cup Classics ChallengeJuly 23-24A trend toward classic yacht racing and a nod to the area's deep sailing roots combined for the first time last year at the Shipyard Cup. This new addition to the nearly 50-year-old annual regatta put lots of eye-candy on the water. The 1926-built NY-40, Marilee and 1937-constructed 12-meter America's Cup contender, Gleam, plus classic Boothbay Harbor one-designs like the 21-foot, Geerd Hendel-designed, 1938-launched sloops, are expected back this year along with contemporary race yachts. We invited several America's Cup contenders to join Gleam this year on the start line, says co-chair Bob Scribner. Spectators can observe from Spruce Point, McKeown Point or Southport. A narrated parade of participants in the inner harbor starts at 10:00 a.m. on July 24. boothbayregatta.com

MASSACHUSETTS

Marblehead Regatta - new england regattas - marinalife
NOOD Marblehead Regatta 2021 | Bruce

Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series – MarbleheadJuly 28-31The 1889-founded Marblehead Race Week joined with National Offshore One-Design concept a few years back, and the result is close to 200 boats racing. We now have all our regular classes like J/70s, Rhodes 19s and Viper 640, plus there are usually one or two guest classes like RS21s, Skuds, 2.4's and J/24s, that hold regional championships as part of the week, says Leslie Rousseau, race committee chair for the host Boston Yacht Club. We expect to see the return of Jud Smith, two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and local J-70 favorite. Spectators on land can get a bird's eye view of the racing from Chandler Hovey Park on Marblehead Neck. Those with a fast center console can watch the boats line up to start off Turkey Point in Middle River or set their chutes at the windward mark in Middle River. sailingworld.com/regatta-series-marbleheadEdgartown Race WeekendJune 23-25Since 1938, celebrity-studded Martha's Vineyard is home to this week of combo coastal, offshore and round-the-island racing hosted by Edgartown Yacht Club. The history, charm and summer activity on Martha's Vineyard is a meaningful draw, in addition to fantastic wind and ideal sailing conditions, says Alex Nugent, one of the event's co-chairs. Plus, we typically host a big welcome party that's sponsored by Mount Gay Rum. New is the ‘Round-the-Sound series of races, which features 20-some nautical mile coastal sprints around Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound and replaces the around-the-buoy series. There's monohull and multihull, racing and cruising, double-handed and many-handed entrants including teams from state and federal service and maritime academies. edgartownyc.orgNantucket Race WeekAugust 13-21Nine days of racing, parties and awards ceremonies take the concept of race week to the extreme. There's something afloat for everyone: kids in Optis and 420s, women in Rhodes 19s, kiteboarders, radio-controlled model boats and some of the country's top sailors competing in high-performance big boats and classic wooden yachts. This year we celebrate the 50th Opera House Cup Regatta, the grand dame of classic wooden boat regattas. The Cup, named after a legendary Nantucket restaurant, attracts some of the finest wooden boats on the East Coast and Europe. There is a big awards party on the beach after the race, says Diana Brown, chief executive of Nantucket Community Sailing. The Parade of Wooden Boats offers a brochure that describes each participating boat. The public can watch the parade from Brant Point Beach. nantucketraceweek.org

RHODE ISLAND

Annual RegattaJune 10-12Hosted by the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) out of its facilities in Newport, this is North America's oldest continuously held sailing event going on its 168th year. The format features two days of buoy racing, prefaced by a race around Conanicut Island. The sight of 100-plus spinnakers running north in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay from Fort Adams, Castle Hill or Beavertail Light is breathtaking. Entries are invited to one-design classes, and boats more than 24 feet race under a variety of handicaps. The Annual Regatta is one of my perennial favorites, says Paul Zabetakis, NYYC commodore and a regular participant on his Swan 42, Impetuous. The race management is impeccable with multiple course configurations. Few other venues offer the perfect combination of offshore racing in Rhode Island Sound and inshore racing on Narragansett Bay. The Saturday night regatta party is one of the biggest occasions of the Newport regatta season with sailors converging on Harbour Court for cocktails and dinner. nyyc.org/168th-annual-regatta

Edgartown Race Weekend - new england regattas - marinalife
Edgartown Race Weekend | Daniel Fors

Newport to Bermuda RaceJune 17The lawn at Castle Hill Inn in Newport and Fort Wetherill in Jamestown are ringside seats to watch nearly 200 vessels start in the East Passage on a 635-mile passage south to Bermuda. Fort Adams State Park also provides close-up views of many of the boats as they depart from Newport Harbor. The fleet then sails past Brenton State Park as it clears Brenton Reef and turns to the southeast. Charter boats and private yachts assemble to watch the start from the water as well, says John Burnham. It's one of the oldest regularly scheduled ocean races, happening biennially since 1906. This year, three high-speed multihulls – two MOD 70s, Argo and Snowflake, and the 78' trimaran Ultim'Emotion 2 – are entered, and each has a good chance of breaking the elapsed time race record of 34h:42m:53s set in 2016 by the 100' maxi yacht, Comanche. bermudarace.comIda Lewis Distance RaceAugust 18-20The fleet goes where the wind blows. The Ida Lewis Distance Race is like no other in that the Race Committee chooses from among four different courses, based on the weather. Each course incorporates some of the most storied cruising grounds in New England and is just long enough for the fleet to be offshore overnight, yet not so long to prohibit inviting family and friends to join for a first-time adventure, says Anselm Richards, event chair. The goal: get about 60-some teams to compete on race boats 28-foot and longer in double-handed, youth, collegiate and different handicap classes back to the dock in under 24 hours. The start happens off Fort Adams and ends inside Newport Harbor, where each team is handed a congratulatory bottle of Prosecco. ilyc.org/distancerace

CONNECTICUT

Block Island RaceMay 27Stamford is the start of this Memorial Day weekend regatta that for many sailors kicks New England's offshore racing season. The 186-nautical mile course down Long Island Sound and around Block Island and back also acts as a ‘warm up' for many teams that are racing some two weeks later in the Newport to Bermuda Race, says Kate Wilson Somers, who handles media for the event. The race marks its 75th anniversary this year and is organized by the Storm Trysail Club, based in Larchmont, NY. stormtrysail.org/regattas/block-island-raceCedar Point One Design RegattaJune 4-5A 20-year+ tradition on the first weekend in June, this one-design keelboat event hosted out of the Cedar Point Yacht Club in Westport, CT, can draw as many as 800 competitors on over 100 boats. The key is that all the boats in a class are the same; no handicap scoring is needed. This makes it easy to watch, as first over the finish line is the winner. Currently, the event is open to J70, J88, J105 and J109, and Beneteau 36.7 fleets, but other fleets are welcome if they meet the requirements, says Joyce Oberdorf, who handles the club's communications. cedarpointyc.org/odr

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Caribbean Arts & Artisans to Treasure
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The Caribbean is an art and artisan lover's paradise. The hot sunlit hues, fragrant foliage and surrounding seas inspire everyone from painters to craftsmen who create body lotions, botanic edibles and model boats from local materials. Here is a sampling of eight artists and their treasures worth the hunt:

BILLFISH PAINTINGSby Carey Chen

Paintings of blue marlin so real that the fish seem alive and fighting is what has made Jamaican-born artist Carey Chen famous. While there are hundreds of wildlife artists, Chen is one of an exclusive few known for his marine art, specifically billfish, with anatomical details and amazing depictions using acrylics on canvas that are correct, highly collectible, and sought out by celebrities and everyday customers.[caption id="attachment_324633" align="alignleft" width="300"]

Artist Carey Chen - caribbean art - marinalife

Courtesy of Carey Chen[/caption]You have to be both a fisherman and an artist, says Chen, who worked as a mate on sport fishing boats out of Kingston as a teenager. His big break came when organizers of Puerto Rico's Club Nautico de San Juan invited him to be the featured artist for their prestigious International Billfish Tournament. This set off up to 30 tournament invitations annually in the Caribbean and around the world where Chen produces event T-shirt designs and fine-art paintings auctioned to benefit marine conservation. His marlin art has recently expanded to clothing and beverage labels. (careychen.com)

NAUTICAL FINE ARTby David Wegman

Walk down the street in Gustavia, St. Barths, to the eclectic eatery, Le Select. On the wall is a vivid mural of the establishment's first location nearby, with the owners playing old-time dominos and a young guitar-strumming Jimmy Buffett. This is one of the masterful works of Wegman, who paints annually in five studios in the United States and Caribbean.I don't paint portraits or telephone poles, I paint what happens in my life. Every painting tells a story, says Wegman, who counts Key West and Coral Bay, St. John, as inspiration as well as his eight-year circumnavigation in the 1990s aboard his sailboat, African Queen IV. Wegman's casual pieces like the Cheeseburger in Paradise sign he painted for Le Select are among the most photographed, while his fine art such as a storm-tossed sailboat at sea titled How Many Times I've Prayed are among his best-known. Wegman's works are available at galleries on St. Barths and online. (facebook.com/david.wegman.77)

LARIMAR JEWELRYby Angie Rodriguez

[caption id="attachment_324634" align="alignright" width="200"]

The Larimar Shop - caribbean art - marinalife

The Larimar Shop | Angie Rodriguez[/caption]Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but for Angie Rodriguez, who with her mother Cleo owns The Larimar Company, it's a light blue semi- precious gem that is their major amigo. On the Dominican Republic's southwest coast, the Barahona province is the only place in the world this crystallized mineral is mined. Larimar excavation started in earnest in the 1970s. For the last decade, the Rodriguezes buy stones direct from the miners and then work with local artists who fashion the Larimar into jewelry.Each stone is so unique that every design, even if it's the same style, is one-of-a-kind because of the stone's different blue hues and bold patterns, says Rodriguez. The duo's most popular pieces of Larimar jewelry are earrings, bracelets and heart-shaped pendants. They have an online store, yet you can see Larimar close up at the Larimar Museum in Santo Domingo. Visitors can also book guided tours of the Larimar mines. (thelarimarshop.com)

HAND-PRINTED FABRICSby Caribelle Batik

The best way to transform into a tropical state of mind is slipping on a brightly colored, bold-printed shirt, skirt or sarong made at Caribelle Batik on St. Kitts. Located in the 17th century Romney Manor, halfway between the capital at Basseterre and historic Brimstone Hill Fortress, British ex-pat Maurice Widdowson started his batik operation here in 1976. Today, he continues hands-on with his wife and adult children.[caption id="attachment_324636" align="alignleft" width="300"]

Caribelle Batik Store - caribbean art - marinalife

Courtesy of Caribelle Batik[/caption]I'm a mental artist, but rotten with my hands. For example, in batik, you usually can't go from darker to lighter. But I had an idea and we worked and worked and today the starburst is one of our most popular designs, says Widdowson, who adds that palm fronds and pineapple are other popular patterns. Ladies' wear, men's apparel, kid's clothes and accessories such as bags, fans and cushion covers are all part of the collection. You'll find a Caribelle Batik store at the Port Zante Cruise Pier in Basseterre as well as online sales. (caribellebatikstkitts.com)

BEQUIA MODEL WOODEN BOATSby Timothy Sargeant

[caption id="attachment_324635" align="alignright" width="300"]

fabric - caribbean art - marinalife

Courtesy of Timothy Sargeant[/caption]A tiny yet mighty armada of boats, some just hulls and others fully rigged, sit in the wood shack workshop that is Sargeant Brothers Model Boat Shop on the Grenadine island of Bequia. Far from kid's toys, the intricate made-to-scale detail of the vessels built by Timothy Sargeant and his half dozen fellow craftsmen, are indeed works of art. Sargeant's two older brothers, Lawson and Winston, started the shop in 1966. Nearly two decades later, Lawson presented his handcrafted version of the Royal Yacht Britannia to Queen Elizabeth II when she visited the island en route to see her sister, Margaret, in nearby Mustique.Whale boats fashioned out of coconuts is how the Sargeant brothers first started. Today, they use local gumwood for the hull and imported mahogany, white pine and red cedar to make everything from Oyster- and Hallberg- Rassy-brand cruising yachts to Windjammers and J-Class America's Cup boats. Buy one ready-made or send Sargeant your vessel's specs and he'll create a mini-me in up to six months. (bequiatourism.com)

SOAPS, HAIR & SKIN CARE PRODUCTSby Aquannette Chinnery

Bay rum bar soap, orange vanilla hair conditioner andpassionfruit hand lotion are among the hand-made, small-batch products Chinnery crafts in her small workshop on her native St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Chinnery, who earned a master's degree in biochemistry from MIT at age 21 and JD from Rutgers 15 years later, is also a gospel recording artist, painter and was a TV personality before her creativity and scientific curiosity lead her back to the lab to start JDNatlady's Creations a decade ago.I am inspired by local scents and incorporate those scent profiles into my products, especially lemongrass. I grew up loving the smell of lemongrass bush tea, says Chinnery of her customer-favorite Lemongrass Hand and Body Lotion. One of my popular locally inspired soaps is Coconut Sugarcake Soap, which smells just like the popular local candy. Chinnery's products are available in St. Thomas stores, resort gift shops and online. Next up, she'll be re-introducing art candles, body scrubs and lip butters. (jdnatladyscreations.com)

RECYCLED SAILCLOTH BAGSby Annie MacPhail

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Annie MacPhail - caribbean art - marinalife

Coral upholstery remnant totes | Annie MacPhail[/caption]The British Virgin Islands boasts one of the largest sailing communities in the world, from private to charter yachts and the sailmakers who serve them. U.S. native, avid sailor and 20-year BVI resident MacPhail embarked on a plan to turn old sails – Dacron and high-tech sail, kiteboard kite, and other materials – into fashionable bags. I wanted to design products for everyday use, using the cloth but not pointing directly to the fact that the cloth is used sailcloth, says MacPhail.Success is evident in her burgeoning business, of which popular items include a beautiful white clutch with a bold interior, wristlets made from black carbon fiber stylish enough for a black-tie event, and laptop bags with colorful kite pockets. New for 2022 is a line called Eco-Beach Cottage featuring khaki cotton weave and recycled sailcloth door stoppers, wastebaskets, trinket trays and more. MacPhail's sailcloth wares are sold at her Nutmeg & Co. boutique across from the ferry terminal in Road Town, Tortola and online. (anniemacphail.com)

CONFECTIONARYby Grenada Chocolate

Known as the Spice Island of the Caribbean, Grenada is now emerging as an award-winning, tree-to-bar chocolate producer. Earlier this year, The Grenada Chocolate Company's 100% Dark Chocolate, 71% Dark Chocolate and 60% Nib-A-Licious Dark Chocolate bars won silver and bronze at the Academy of Chocolate Awards in London.What makes Grenada's chocolate unique is that the plantations grow with a mixture of plants, not just cocoa, so the flavors of nearby oranges, passionfruit and herbs naturally enrich the flavor, says Magdalena Fielden, founder of the annual Grenada Chocolate Fest and owner of the True Blue Bay Boutique Resort. The Grenada Chocolate Company, started in 1998 and now encompassing 200-acres of farms growing organic trinitario-type cocoa, is one of six small-scale producers on the island. Their six products, available at Grenadian stores and online, include the three award winners plus 100% Dark Chocolate, 60% Dark Chocolate and the 71% Dark Chocolate Salty-Licious made with Caribbean Sea salt. (grenadachocolate.com)

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Perfect Items for Party Boats
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PARTY PEOPLE ON BOARD

THE DOCKTAIL BOAT TABLE CADDYDocktail BarInstantly transform your boat into a bar with this caddy. It includes an all-angle adjustable rod mount and secure cup holders, so you never have to worry about spilled drinks when the boat is rockin'. The Docktail Bar set also comes with a removable cutting board and space for small snack bowls. ($249.97) docktailbar.com/collections/featured-collection/products/docktail-bar-1

funboy - nauti shopper - marinalife
Funboy Dayclub | Funboy

GIANT CABANA DAYCLUBFunboyBring the club to the water with this luxury cabana float complete with a center compartment that can double as a cooler. Recently re-engineered with stronger materials, the structure is durable and the grab ropes allow for easy anchorage. ($399.99) funboy.com/products/giant-shaded-cabana-dayclubLOB THE BLOB WATER CORNHOLEAirheadAs cornhole is popular at outdoor events, this portable floating set is a classic game you can bring to any pool or lake party. The pack comes with two inflatable targets with 10-inch holes and two sets of blue blobs (bags for tossing). ($34.84) airhead.com/products/lob-the-blob-2-packSPEAKERAltec LansingGet the party started by hooking up this powerful Bluetooth speaker with neodymium woofers pumping out 16 watts of sound. With 30 hours of battery life, the speaker is also waterproof, dirtproof and shockproof, and it even floats in the water. Enjoy a flashy show with your tunes and choose from from five LED light modes. ($99.99) alteclansing.com/product/lifejacket-jolt-2/

DINNER PARTY ON DECK

MARINE KETTLE GAS GRILLMagmaThis portable grill will have you hosting the best boat party in all the land and sea! The mirror-polished, stainless steel cooker is corrosion-resistant to saltwater and features a hinged lid that won't slam shut and is lockable for safe grilling. If your boat has no galley, this item is perfect for you! ($339.98) magmaproducts.com/products/original-size-marine-kettle-3-combination-stove-gas-grillROWBOAT SERVING BOWLUncommon GoodsAll hands will be on deck and reaching for this adorable rowboat bowl with a napkin holder as the mast. Perfect for fruit, nuts, cheese or any party snacks, guests will love scooping up their hors d'oeuvres with the mini paddle spoons. Made from aluminum and wood, this rowboat is the ideal décor for any nautical event. ($85.00) uncommongoods.com/product/rowboat-serving-bowl-with-napkin-holderPERSONALIZED SERVING TRAY NAUTICAL ANCHOR BOAT & CAPTAIN NAMEZazzleServe guests in style with a customized tray that honors your vessel. Insert your captain's or boat's name and home dock, and choose from a black frame or a natural light wood finish. The navy blue and white palette and gorgeous detailed anchor design is the perfect aesthetic for every occasion. ($59.95) zazzle.com

KIDS CORNER

slide - nauti shopper - marinalife
Waterfall Pontoon Slide | WOW Watersports

PONTOON WATERFALL SLIDEWOW WatersportsWhen it comes to entertaining restless youth on the water, they are sure to love gliding down a giant slide over and over again. Kids can play all day on this inflatable waterfall slide. Easily attach it to any pontoon boat with the adjustable straps and molded handles. The bright blue slide is made with heavy-duty PVC-coated polyester. ($399.99) wowwater-sports.com/shop/river-lake-tubes/pontoon-waterfall-slideREMOTE CONTROL WATER SPEEDBOATTop Race®Let kids turn the party into a competition by racing remote-controlled mini speedboats. This toy is perfect for the pool, lake or calm beach waves as it only works in the water. The easy-to-use remote works from about 30-50 yards away and comes with a rechargeable battery. ($49.99) toprace.comPIRATE SHIP POOL FLOATUnomorYour kids and their friends will love blasting each other with the built-in squirt guns on these inflatable pirate ship floats. Ages three to 12 can pretend they are in battle or shipwrecked at sea and float around on the comfortable seat cushion. No need to refill the squirt guns, as it comes with a tube to insert into water. We recommend getting a few of these for an ultimate show down. ($31.99) unomor.com

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